Get Up and Move!


Movement is the key to life and applies to more than just physical exertion.

Teen and mom dancingMovement is essential for physical and psychological fitness. I prefer to use the word “movement” rather than “exercise.” Exercise is often associated with something you have to do, while movement is associated with something you want to do. Former First Lady Michelle Obama was brilliant in entitling her national initiative, “Let’s Move!” Although she designed the program to promote healthy eating and physical activity for kids, the title focused on movement.

People who don’t exercise often dread exercising because they think of changing into workout clothes and spending time and energy in a gym to force themselves to do a workout routine. When you tell a teen to exercise, they may think of doing jumping jacks in PE class or being forced to run around the track. So, my suggestion is to reframe the idea of exercise. If you want your teen to exercise, encourage movement of any kind. They can stretch, dance, walk, play, and incorporate any movement into their day.

Everything is in motion. When we look at a chair, it seems like it’s not moving when actually tiny molecular particles that make up the chair are continuously in motion.

Walt Disney’s line “Keep moving forward” is my personal mantra. Put one foot in front of the other and move.

You may move backward at times, and that’s okay too. Have you ever heard of the saying “two steps forward and one step back?” Have you ever watched a running back or wide receiver in football take a few steps back before moving forward? It’s okay to move backward if you keep your eyes on the goal ahead. Sometimes, you need to take a few steps back to learn something, rest, or gain momentum for that next charge forward.

Why am I telling you this? You may have to remind your teens to move. Amid today’s challenges and overstimulating social media, they may get stuck. They may focus on everything they are not. They may think about what they are not doing, what’s not going well, what they are not good at, and the list goes on and on. When they get in this mindset, everything is wrong. They can get so overwhelmed that they freeze and stay in one place. They want to move forward but can’t.

This is where you come in to gently encourage them to move, to take one step at a time. It’s essential to remind them that they will not always move forward and reassure them that it’s okay. As long as they keep moving, they will continue to learn and grow

Dr. Liz